Bean Threads with Coconut Milk and Mint

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Bean Threads with Coconut Milk and MintNoodles and broth are a perfect one-dish meal: easy to prepare ahead, a great vehicle for all sorts of leftovers, and a satisfying combination of textures and flavors. Soupy, but not quite soup; consider these very moist noodle dishes.

  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Total Time: 20 Minutes


  • 2 2-ounce bundles glass (mung bean) noodles
  • 2 cups coconut milk (to make your own, see page 304) or 1 14-
  • ounce can plus a little water
  • ¼ cup soy sauce, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Fishless Fish Sauce (page 656; optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces Crunchy Crumbled Tempeh (page 512)
  • ½ cup sliced scallions
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chile (like jalapeño or Thai) or to taste, or red chile flakes or cayenne (optional)
How to Make It
  1. Soak the glass noodles in hot water until soft, then cut the strands with kitchen scissors to make manageable lengths. Drain, rinse, and put in a bowl of cold water while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Bring 4 cups water to a boil and add the coconut milk; stir in the soy sauce and ketchup, and the “fish” sauce if you’re using it. Taste and add a little salt if necessary, plus lots of pepper. Keep the broth bubbling.
  3. To serve, drain the noodles well and divide them among bowls. Ladle the broth over the noodles and swirl them a bit to make sure they’re submerged. Top with the tempeh, scallions, and mint, and the peanuts and chiles to taste if you’d like, and serve.
  4. FASTER NOODLE SOUP Quicker than takeout: Instead of bean threads, boil egg noodles in salted water until tender but not mushy. Drain, rinse, and return to cold water as described in Step 1. In Step 2, omit the coconut milk, bring 6 cups water to a boil, and add the soy sauce and the ketchup. If you like, add 8 ounces firm tofu, cut into small cubes instead of the tempeh. Omit the mint. The peanuts and chiles are optional but recommended.
  5. VASTLY IMPROVED STORE-BOUGHT RAMEN For pocket change, you buy a package of ramen, which is really a serving of noodles with a packet of sodium-laden “broth” concentrate included. Try this: Discard the broth packet. Cook the noodles as in Step 1, then proceed, using as many or as few of the above ingredients as you like. Or cook the noodles as in Step 1, gently dropping an egg into them when they’re about half cooked and reducing the heat to a simmer. When the egg is poached (see page 525), gently stir in 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and a dash Tabasco or other hot sauce. Garnish if you’d like with peanuts, tempeh, and/or scallions and serve.

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